Why Labour will not bring about a fairer Britain

Sunday, 1st February 2015

In less than 5 years, the Labour left seemed to have forgotten the sheer treachery of the last Labour administration. Rather than focus their attention on the real ruling classes sitting in corporate boardrooms or relaxing on Caribbean yachts, they prefer to demonise the bunch of overgrown public school boys and girls in the current governmental management team. You see national governments don’t really have much power these days. Big decisions are made elsewhere. More important, to any rational and emotionally detached observer New Labour and the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition are just two brands of the same product marketed at different sections of the voting public. The Conservatives like to appeal to the common-sense middle classes, a demographic that has shrunk considerably since the 2008 banking crisis. While Labour hold on to some of their core traditional working class vote in Wales and parts of Northern England, they appeal increasingly to the Guardian-reading managerial classes as well as ethnic minorities and welfare dependents who feel uneasy about Conservative rhetoric on tougher immigration controls or welfare cuts. Ironically the LibDems share much of the same demographic, but are tarnished by their support for the ConDem  Coalition government. This leaves much of the tradional working and lower middle classes without a voice. Their jobs have been outsourced and their wages compressed, while their taxes fund massive corporate largesse and social engineering. For now, UKIP is filling this vacuum, but are unlikely to challenge the hegemony of the same bankers who corrupted New Labour or address the fundamental economic imbalances that causes much unbalanced migration. The Greens appeal mainly the wishful-thinking leftwing intellectuals disaffected with New Labour, but offer an unworkable mix of high-tax and high-spending neo-keynsiansian and environmental measures that could only work in a zero-growth steady-state economy unable to fund the welfare state in its current guise. Let's just look at the some of the policies they last Labour government forgot to detail in its manifesto.

  1. Tuition fees, within months of being elected Labour reversed its previous opposition to replacing university grants with loans. The old system worked when only 15–20% of school leavers went to university, but the employment market now requires most office workers to have a degree. Indeed as the further education sectors grows, degrees are devalued, but without a degree many young people cannot even get on the career ladder, unless they turn their minds to practical manual jobs. It would have made much more sense to keep grants for STEM and Medicine students and for top-performing students from poorer backgrounds in other academic subjects, while withdrawing subsidies from non-essential degrees while encouraging more to learn practical trades.
  2. Bombed Serbia (1998). Throughout the 1990s we witnessed ongoing civil war in the former Yugoslavia. The Western Media had decided to blame it on the Serbian leadership, which served as a convenient test case for the new humanitarian interventionism, especially as many of the alleged victims of Serbian nationalism were Muslims. Blair could then pose as the saviour of Kosovan Albanians. We now know the death toll between rival groups was much more evenly balanced than presented in mainstream Western media and the purported Kosovan freedom fighters (KLA) were armed and funded by the CIA.
  3. Supported US destabilisation of Middle East with regular depleted uranian airstrikes on Iraq. The Blair government remained loyal to US foriegn policy in the Middle East, joining regular airstrikes over Iraq to enforce the No-Fly Zone imposed in the aftermath of the first Gulf War.
  4. Let banks issue loans to low-paid and unemployed to boost consumer spending while manufacturing migrated abroad.
  5. Sold gold when at its historical low in 2001 to boost US dollar
  6. Allowed massive expansion of retail and entertainment sector.
  7. Failed to train millions of long-term unemployed people to do all those essential jobs that any country needs.
  8. Subsidised low-pay through working family tax credits.
  9. Hid real unemployment by broadening definition of disabilities and encouraging more young people to undertake useless degrees. Since since 1997 we have seen a proliferation of pointless non-productive managerial, marketing and surveillance jobs. Few jobs are directly associated with the things people really need. If you want to have your imported washing machine fixed, in our brave New World you’ll probably call a service company who will dispatch a ready trained technician authorised to identify and possibly replace an inexpensive component. For every hand-on tradeperson or engineer, there appear to be many more penpushers and client relations managers. Official unemployment may be much higher in Spain, but at least Spain not only exports more food and cars, but has a booming tourist industry. However, if we look not at the official jobless count, but at the number of people with a real full-time job, then over 8 million UK adults of working age are not in employment, education or training or classified as stay-at-home parents. The UK also has the highest number of part-time employed workers who rely on tax credits to make end meet.
  10. Allowed a massive rise in unbalanced immigration leading to massive oversupply of cheap labour and population rise of 5 million in just 13 years. Since the end of WW2, the UK had accommodated many immigrants from its former empire. However, with many Britons migrating to Australia, Canada or the USA, net migration remained under 30,000 a year. Indeed for a few year the UK had negative net migration. Since 1997 these numbers changed rapidly, as migratory pressures and cheap travel enabled millions to seek their fortunes to wealthier countries. At the same time, British workers lacked both key practical skills such as plumbing, bricklaying or catering and incentives to accept low-paid jobs, leaving a gap in the market for keen young labourers willing to work antisocial hours on little more than the minimum wage. This set the scene for Labour’s 2003 decision to allow workers from Eastern European countries the same rights as any other EU countries. Since 2004 net migration has consistently topped 200,000 a year, dipping only briefly 2008 and 2011 and the country’s population has risen from 58 million in 1997 to 64 million in 2014. Whole employment sectors, especially catering, construction and food processing, came to be dominated by new migrants. Yet New Labour pretended nothing had changed. Immigration had long been a side issue. While most politicians agreed balanced and gradual migration could benefit society, they now had to defend rapid and increasingly unbalanced migration, i.e. although many Britons migrated to the rest of Europe, they were either skilled professionals, English language teachers or retirees. As the New Labour decade progressed, more and more ordinary voters began to realise a disconnect between politician’s rhetoric about building a new global future, and reality on the ground where whole neighbourhoods were transformed and job security became a distant memory. While the metropiltan elite discused equality, diversity and anti-racism, the marginalised indigenous working classes were more concerned with job security and social cohesion.
  11. Allowed property prices to rise exponentially to over 10x average salaries. While official retail inflation remained low, housing accounted for a growing percentage of people’s income. Indeed Labour continued to sell off council housing stock to housing associations. As the number of low-paid and under-employed households continued to rise, the government’s housing benefit rose to over £20 billion a year. In much of the South East of England, a married couple on average wages (approx. 25 to 30k) could no longer aspire to buy a house worthy of calling home.
  12. Obsession with growth led the UK to increase its carbon footprint largely through consumption of goods manufactured elsewhere. While British consumers continued to buy cars, washing machines, furniture,electronic entertainment gadgets and other household accessories, manufacturing jobs drifted abroad as UK workers proved unable to compete with East Asia. However, the service sector, especially retail, media and entertainment, kept expanding. Every week would bring news of factory closures and supermarket openings.
  13. Supported US occupation of Aghanistan in 2001. Within months of the tragic 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, New Labour joined forces with the US to attack Afghanistan, initially to hunt down the perpetrators of this dastardly act of terrorism, but latterly to promote women’s rights and democracy. While they succeeded in killing tens of thousands and capturing eventually Osama Bin Laden in neighbouring Pakistan, the Afghan civil war continues to rage with much of the country still controlled by the Taliban.
  14. Deregulated booze and gambling. While Labour banned smoking, they made it much easier for people to get drunk and gamble away their devalued salaries. Indeed, not only did New Labour allow a massive expansion of casinos, they allowed the gaming industry to advertise on prime time TV.
  15. Enforced PFI contracts in the health service. Labour has long claimed to be the party of the NHS, yet under New Labour, the preferred way to fund new hospitals and facilities was through Private Finance Initiatives, which for short-term financial gain will burden future generations with £200 billion of debt.
  16. Expanded surveillance and tried to introduce identity card
  17. Supported US occupation of Iraq. Despite the largest demonstation in British history, with some 2 million travelling to Central London to protest the imminent US-led invasion of Iraq, the Labour government sent British armed forces to
  18. Oversaw massive rise in prison population. While nowhere near US levels of incarceration, England now has the highest imprisonment rate in Western and Central Europe.
  19. Passed 2007 Mental Health Act leading to massive rise in number of adults sectioned (detained) without consent. Note how mainstream politicians of all hues have championed mental health awareness, while in reality mental illness spending has continued to rise apace with the diagnostic rate for personality disorders. Yet few have linked this trend with other forms of invasive surveillance.
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